Diving with whale sharks

Included in our Philippines dive itinerary was an opportunity to dive with whale sharks at Oslob.  Oslob has become renowned for whale shark diving and snorkelling, there are a lot of reviews about this on the Internet (some good, some bad).

Whilst we enjoyed the experience of diving with these magnificent sharks, once was enough at Oslob.  The experience raises concerns about the sustainability of this type of tourism.  We do understand the need for the people of Oslob to have an income, and there are visible efforts to control the numbers of tourists and their interaction with the whales, evident in the cost of this activity and the number of rangers present.   Unfortunately, it is hard to ignore the destructive human impact on the area and more importantly the sharks.

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Tourists snorkelling with whale sharks. The red shirts are the tourists, the blue shirts are the guides, whale feeders and rangers.

When we got in, the first thing we noticed was the plastic bags floating in the water.  Not a good sign.

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Whale shark and plastic bag

There was a lot of activity, 16 divers, 30-40 snorkelers, and about 20 whale sharks.  Not exactly as I imagined this dive would be.

This was not our first experience of diving with whale sharks, we had an unexpected close encounter 6 years ago diving out of  North Stradbroke Island in South East Queensland.  And that experience will always stay in our top ten favourite dives.

 

 

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